Arab public opinion turns against normalization with Israel

20 July 2022 | 08:05 Code : 2013508 From the Other Media Latest Headlines General category
Arab public opinion turns against normalization with Israel

Almost two years into the signing of the controversial Abraham Accords between Israel and some Arab states, the already shaky support for normalization among Arab public opinion has dropped further, a poll by The Washington Institute showed. 

“The wave of Arab countries officially normalizing relations with Israel over the past several years stands in contrast with a growing lack of public support for the Abraham Accords in the [Persian] Gulf,” the Institute said, noting that those who favorably view normalization with Israel are now a “minority” in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

It added, “TWI polling from March 2022 demonstrates that more than two thirds of citizens in Bahrain, KSA, and UAE view the Abraham Accords unfavorably less than two years out.”

The polling stands in contrast to another one from November 2020, in which some percentage of Emiratis, Bahrainis, and Saudis showed relative optimism about normalization. While in November 2020, nearly 40 percent of Saudis and Qataris supported the Accords, support for these agreements is now hovering between 19% to 25% in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE, according to the new polling. 

The number of those in Lebanon viewing the Abraham Accords “very negative” has increased from 41% in November 2020 to 66% this March, while support in Egypt has dropped from about a quarter to 13%.

Attitudes toward sub-state business and sports relations with Israel have also been remarkable in the Persian Gulf Arab countries. A further 50% of Saudis and 47% of Emiratis strongly disagreed with allowing such ties. With the exception of Kuwait, disapproval rates of allowing business or sports ties with Israelis now edge closer to half (Bahrain – 58%, KSA – 60%, UAE – 55%), the Institute said. 94% of Kuwaitis and 93% of Lebanese surveyed disagreed with the notion—and a further 77% of Lebanese and 88% of Kuwaitis strongly rejected it.

The figures from the poll bear witness to a widely held belief that ordinary Arabs do not support their leaders in establishing ties with Israel. The Abraham Accords might have succeeded in generating a limited base of support in countries that normalized ties with Israel, but they absolutely failed to bring about a drastic change in Arab public opinion. And even that limited base is now evaporating.

The polling also gives substance to the remarks by Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

In the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinian cause as being the number one issue in the world of Islam. “Despite certain governments’ interest in the Zionist regime, nations totally oppose this usurper,” he noted. 

Independent polls confirmed that Arabs do not support normalization with Israel. And even in 2020, most polls evinced that the majority of Arabs view normalization unfavorably. A poll conducted in October 2020 by the Arab Center of Research and Policy Studies showed an unequivocal Arab opposition to normalization. It was conducted in 13 Arab countries with 28,000 respondents. The polling showed that 88 percent of Arabs refused the idea of recognizing Israel.

Source: Tehran Times